Narcissists use threats. They are part of the manipulative armoury that we possess. Do all narcissists use them, if so, is there any difference between the schools of narcissist? What are the purposes of the threats? What is the aim of the narcissist in using a threat? What should you be looking out for? How worried should you be?
The Lesser Narcissist
The Lesser Narcissist does not use threat extensively. Where the Lesser Narcissist does so, the nature of the threat will be rudimentary and sledgehammer in nature and moreover if a threat is issued then if it is to be executed it will occur pretty soon after the issuing of the threat.
Like all forms of manipulation, we use manipulations in order to exert control over you and primarily to gain fuel. There may be the acquisition of residual benefits (e.g. payment of money, use of equipment, keeping quiet about something) also.
Our need for control is absolute. Constant and utterly necessary. This applies across all schools but manifests in different ways.
This need for control is all about the instant, the here and the now. It is not about last week and it is not about in a month’s time. This is why most manipulations must be instantaneous and why (save for the Greater) they are instinctive and not calculated.
With regard to the Lesser Narcissist, his repertoire of manipulations is the narrowest and the least sophisticated. It is hallmarked by verbal violence, physical and sexual violence and destruction of property. Other manipulations (for example silent treatments, triangulation, word salad and so forth ) are indeed used but are rudimentary in their appearance and application.
All narcissists face two control threats.
- Wounding. This causes the ignition of fury which is an instinctive response hard-wired into us. The Lesser will respond usually with heated fury, The Mid Ranger usually with cold fury and the Greater with either albeit the Greater is able to keep the fury response under control in many instances ( thus marking the difference between the Greater and other narcissists); and
- The issuing of Challenge Fuel.
In either of these instances, the narcissist will respond with a manipulative response.
Accordingly, in the instance of the Lesser, what is the instinctive response to the need to address this control issue when it comes to the question of issuing threats.
The Lesser does not use threat extensively. This is because he needs a quick fix to the issue of control AND he does not have much in the toolbox to address this issue of control. The lower cognitive function, the lowest control threshold on ignited fury and the Lesser’s toolkit containing mainly heated fury responses results in threat not being the most effective response for the Lesser.
Threat will be used, but infrequently and will appear in such forms as
You had better come home now or I will beat the shit out of you.
You had better stay in tonight you bitch or I will whip your sorry ass.
I am going to smash your face in you ugly fucker.
You had better do as I say or I will slash your tyres.
Note the nature of these threats – verbal insult, physical violence and/or damage to property. They are not sophisticated.
The Lesser will make good on the threat if he or she can do so in the immediacy of issuing the threat. Accordingly, if you are trying to go out for an evening with friends and the Lesser decrees that you had better stay in or he will whip your sorry ass and he tells you this as he stands in the bedroom as you are getting ready there also, he will move to execute the threat if you do not back down and become compliant. Accordingly, any threat which is made to you when the Lesser is physically proximate to you presents a clear and real danger. If you are able to remove yourself physically you should do so, if not, you should aim to back down (allowing the narcissist to gain control) so the need for the execution of the threat subsides. If you wound (by making to leave) or issue further Challenge Fuel (‘I am going out you fat slob and you cannot stop me), you can expect the threat to be executed.
If the narcissist is not physically proximate then the likelihood of the threat will reduce. If he is 100 yards away and has telephoned you or messaged you issuing the threat, you can expect a high risk of execution of the threat BUT if the Lesser Narcissist cannot actually get to you (and/or your property) or has to travel some distance to execute the threat (say drive across town) then the likelihood of the threat being executed will be reduced considerably. If necessary, report the threat (particularly if it is contained in credible evidence (someone impartial witnessed it or it is written or recorded). However, the Lesser is far less likely to execute the threat because:-
- Lesser’s prefer (instinctively) to expend the least amount of resource and therefore having to do so to execute the threat means it is less likely to be executed;
- Their need for fuel means they will seek it from a closer appliance rather than (instinctively) risk no fuel and wounding by trying to get to you when it is difficult to do so.
Accordingly, a Lesser is far more likely to just do something (hit you, smash things up, insult you) than issue a threat. Where a threat is issued expect its execution within a very short time thereafter and if it has not been executed within that time frame it is highly unlikely to be executed. The Lesser will have turned to an alternative appliance and exerted control over you by not engaging with you further, thus withdrawal is an assertion of control. The fuel issue is met by an alternative appliance. Thus your participation in the need for control and fuel becomes redundant – until the next occasion you cause wounding or issue Challenge Fuel.
Thus, expect the Lesser to act immediately. Threats are not often used and if they are action will either follow soon after or not at all. The threat will not be subtle, it will be brutal and obvious. The lack of façade management and rudimentary approach also means that the Lesser (where threat is used) will invariably allow you an opportunity to gather useful evidence to use against the Lesser within the forum of legal proceedings.
The Mid Range Narcissist
The Mid Range Narcissist is the greatest user of threat. It is used often, it may be grandiose in nature, it may be subtle and lack specificity and often contains with it plausible deniability. It often is issued through the application of a third party. Examples would include
You should make sure you come back home because if you don’t I am going to tell all your friends about how you have been mis-treating me.
Bad things happen to people who cross me.
I am going to make your life hell, little lady.
If you don’t do it, I will post those pictures of you so your kids see them.
You should know better than to mess with someone like me. I am dangerous.
That was not very clever. You should watch your back from now on.
Nobody does that to me. I will make you pay.
I am going to get the police onto you for what you have done.
If you don’t give me my possessions back I will tell your parents and what will they think of their little angel then?
Note in those examples the lack of specifics in many of them. That is a very Mid Range trait. The Mid Range Narcissist’s grandiosity is such that he wants to cultivate the image of being some manipulative mastermind but there is no actual evidence of them ever having done so and they are unable to state precisely what it is that they will do. Some Mid Range Narcissists claim to be the puppeteering Svengali but when you try to gain specifics about how they operate in this way they will be woefully short on any detail. You are misled into thinking they know what they are, but they do not know. They do not know they are Mid Range, they think they are a Greater and they are not.
Mid Range Narcissists very rarely execute threats. Here is why :-
- For the MRN, the power of this manipulation is in the threat not its execution;
- Execution takes effort, energy and balls. MRN want to save effort, conserve energy and they have small, shrivelled balls because they are passive, aggressive cowards;
- Whilst the execution of a threat is not pleasant, once it has been executed the power has gone. The MRN instinctively knows this. By keeping the threat hanging over you, it is far more powerful.
- The lack of specifics works in the MRN’s favour. Again this is instinctive and it causes considerable fear in the victim because this lack of knowledge as to what might happen sends paranoia and fear into overdrive (heightened by emotional thinking) and thus makes it more effective.
- Façade management. The MRN believes themselves to be a decent person and therefore by not acting on the threat, the façade is more likely to be preserved.
- Wariness of legal transgression. Although the MRN’s sense of entitlement and lack of accountability means he or she believes himself to be above the law and their actions are always justified, their increased cognitive function means that they have an instinctive awareness that issuing blunt threats and carrying out any threats would have negative consequences (damage to façade, interruption to fuel matrix etc – again all instinctively known).
- Grandiosity. The MRN likes to think that he is some dark Macchiavellian character and this lends itself to issuing amorphous and grand sounding threats, which are in fact empty.
Again whilst you should always treat a threat seriously and report it if you have independent credible evidence. Note that if you do not have independent evidence the MRN, operating with a façade, some charm and higher cognitive function will, when challenged about the threat on a he said/she said basis :-
- Deny it (First Line of the Narcissist’s Defence);
- Blameshift by accusing you of being the troublemaker.
- Deflect. Suggest that you have made it up, misunderstood, misheard and utilise plausible deniability.
- Capitalise on your emotional state if you are presenting in an upset, frazzled ranting manner. The narcissist will invariably be calm and feign horror at such an accusation.
- Roll out the façade – rely on their pillar of the community status, friendship with the mayor, standing as a well-regarded professional and use Lieutenants and the Coterie to support this and undermine you making future complaints all the more difficult for you to progress.
You should not waste precious time and energy worrying about a threat from a Mid Range Narcissist being carried out. They are far more likely to want to keep the threat alive. However, never call their bluff as this is Challenge Fuel and might just tip the balance so the necessity of control DEMANDS a move from threat to execution. You are better served reporting it and not reacting directly to it and certainly do not waste time worrying about it. Remember, the aim of the threat is to gain control and fuel. If you do not provide fuel, you do not offer any further challenge then the narcissist will be forced to seek fuel elsewhere and the need for the exertion of control will pass.
The Greater Narcissist and the Ultra
The Greater Narcissist does not issue threats. They are implicit and the victim knows, without being told, that there will be severe consequences if they challenge control. A simple look or reptilian smile or glare is all that is needed to convey the message. Sometimes, you do not even receive that.
We execute instead and invariably quite some time later and out of left field so you do not even realise what has happened.
We do not forewarn you. That hands you power and control and we must not do that.
Instead, we know that you know what we are capable of. We let you create the threats in your mind instead. That is powerful in itself, completely deniable and highly effective and then when you think the risk has passed we carry out the act.
Our ability to control ignited fury means we can seek fuel elsewhere and log your transgression so that retribution is visited at a later juncture.
(If you require assistance in understanding threats issued by an individual, how you should respond and what might happen, this is something I repeatedly address for people through consultations – do use the links below)